Monday, July 28, 2008

Books about Hockey: Part 2

Within the past year I have read three distinctly different books about hockey. Each book caters specifically to a different group and I think two of them could be enjoyed by most hockey fans and one of those is a must read for every hockey fan. My review of the third and, in my opinion, the best book will be in the next post of Books about Hockey.

The first book I read was one that I had never even heard of till I received it for free. 'Hockey and High Heels' is not your usual hockey book. The Kings organization held a 'Hockey and High Heels' event at Staples Center in late October 2007 and I was fortunate enough to have attended. Plenty has been written on this blog about the H&HH event and if you wish to revisit it you can read about my initial reaction, my review of the event and Connie's review of it as well. All attendees were given a goody-bag and one of the items in the loot was the 'Hockey and High Heels' book written by hockey enthusiast Lisa Ovens, a Vancouver Canucks fan. The cover of the book is incredibly girly and I imagine it is off-putting to a good number of female fans, who may think they're too "good enough" or "hardcore enough of a fan" to read something like it. I would classify this book as a chick-hockey-book, similar to the usual chick books I mentioned in my previous post about Books about Hockey, that should be enjoyed on a sunny afternoon, lounging on a chair at the beach or pool with a fun drink to keep you cool.

Through 'Hockey and High Heels' the reader lives Lisa's life during her first year as a Canucks season ticket holder. She mainly discusses the games she attends and her relationships with her close friends. Not being a season ticket holder myself, I found it amusing how neighboring season ticket holders have an almost instant bond. Every now and then a hockey fact, description, or explanation is thrown in to provide a bit of history and clarification for any reader who may be unfamiliar with a certain hockey topic. The book is very heavy in dialogue and almost reads like an open diary because you experience what Lisa does and you can feel her emotions, although it didn't hurt that I met her so I could picture her saying certain things in her high squeaky, cheery voice.

Recommended For: The female or ultra-flaming hockey fan who wants an easy read about hockey, friends, and relationships. It makes you want to convert all of your girlfriends to hockey fans.

The second book I read was 'Bob Miller's Tales from the Los Angeles Kings' written by Bob Miller and Randy Schultz. I expected a completely different organizational layout and am still conflicted on whether or not I like how it was written and displayed. At first I thought this was some sort of autobiography about Miller's time as a play-by-play announcer with the Kings but quickly realized I was incorrect. While it does include some history about how Miller came to work for the Kings it doesn't delve too much into his personal life. Rather, the book is about his memorable moments with the Kings and is more of a story-telling book, which is true to the book's title so I suppose I shouldn't have really been that surprised.

This book is a great read for any Kings fan. Longtime fans will enjoy the tales about the Kings' early days in LA, fans my age will remember the great times of the Cup Finals, and young and new fans will read about the history of the Kings and learn some interesting facts about past ownership and memorable moments. The book starts in chronological order and the reader learns how Miller started in the business and how he came to LA. But eventually the book jumps around in Kings history based on the topic of the chapter. I still can't quite figure out if I like how the events were grouped by topic or if I would have preferred to have read the tales in chronological order. Most readers may not even think twice about this layout but for someone who likes to have everything organized alphabetically or numerically or in some organized neat manner, it bothered me.

The reason why I like this book so much is not because I got to relive the highs and lows of the Kings or hear about hilarious events that Miller witnessed. I really liked this book because it gave me a look into Miller's personality. All these years of listening to him call games and seeing him on the broadcasts, I had developed an image of Miller of what he must be like off camera. I envisioned him as a polite, somewhat reserved gentleman who was knowledgeable about the game and loved his job. But this book gave me a different perspective of Miller and his tales paint him as a jokester, a smart, driven person who won't let anyone treat him like shit. He has a great sense of humor that is reflected in his retelling of certain events and he also shows off his rough edges, his man's man side.

Recommended For: Kings fans of all ages and any hockey fan interested in a bit of Kings history.

Next post: Another review of another book about hockey. And, if I put the post off long enough, I may even finish the book I'm currently reading and be able to give a review of that too.


Gann Matsuda said... think your off-camera image of Bob was wrong? So was mine! When I first got media credentials from the Kings, I quickly learned that Bob was a great guy on or off-camera, but off-camera, he lets his hair down and will tell the occasional off-color joke or story.

The first time I heard that was in the media room at the Great Western Forum...I think that was in 1997. Hearing Bob tell a joke that one usually wouldn't tell is mixed company was quite the shock. Even today, when I hear something like that from Bob, even though we're now on a first-name basis, it's still a little weird!!

I've asked Bob if there's going to be a second edition of his book. He's thought about it, but isn't sure.

Gann Matsuda said...

You know, it was totally unintentional, but I just realized...I shouldn't have said that Bob "...let's his hair down." Sorry Bob!

k.m.stiles said...

"Let's his hair down", haha nice choice of words!

After reading the book I can definitely imagine him doing that, but I still think it's interesting that side of him does not come across during the broadcasts.

Gann Matsuda said...

Bob is a professional all the way through and an "old school" pro at that. You'll never see Bob do what some of the your whipper-snapper broadcasters do. The facr that he abides by such a high standard is exactly why you'll never see that side of him come across on the air.

Meaghan said...

Sorry to comment on a (sort of) old post but I was really excited to see this! I've also been reading hockey books this summer and I've only found two books by women. I had never heard of Hockey and High Heels!